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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Methed up : how do street youth with methamphetamine-induced psychosis access mental health services? Lasting, Olivia Lambert


This study explored the experiences of street-involved youth who have received mental health services for symptoms of methamphetamine-induced psychosis. Specifically, the study investigated what factors were perceived by participants to promote and hinder access to mental health services. The researcher interviewed nine street youth at Covenant House, a Vancouver agency serving street-involved youth. Interview data and the researcher's field notes were coded and analyzed within a grounded theory paradigm. Youth discussed formal and informal sources of help and routes to both. Two distinct perspectives to treatment were identified: an addictions perspective and a concurrent disorders perspective. Respondents outlined the typical pathway into methamphetamine use and described barriers and supports for accessing services while undergoing drug-induced psychosis. Significant factors that encouraged access to services were positive relationships with helpers, strong peer supports, and the use of involuntary services when necessary. Identified barriers included fear of being stigmatized, lack of problem awareness, and systemic barriers. The current research proposed a model of access to mental health services that positions outreach and frontline workers as key figures to mediating street youth's access to appropriate services.

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